Live report : Opeth Opeth [Death Metal]
Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Studio Coast
, TokyoView all concert info
Photographer : Guillaume Catella
Opeth at the Studio Coast
Tokyo welcomes tonight one of the preeminent ambassadors of Progressive Death Metal, Opeth
, right in the middle of their “Heritage Asian Tour 2012” to introduce their eponymous last disc “Heritage”, freshly released. People replied massively to this rendez-vous, and the large live house “Studio Coast”, that will host Marilyn Manson
next month is almost full. While the crowd continues to enter the place, a soft voice announces the list of the bands that will soon stop over Tokyo : Enter Shikari, Lamb of God
, Marilyn Manson
, Amon Amarth
, Dream Theater
, Arch Enemy
, … all within the following months, and by the same organizer, Creativeman. Kudos !
The lights are subdued, and at 18:00 exactly, the head of the bill which is also the only band to play tonight, gets on stage unceremoniously. Mikael Åkerfeldt, wearing a T shirt with short sleeves despite Tokyo fierce winter, simply and humbly waves at us, almost shyly. The guitars start immediately, without any introduction, on The Devil’s Orchard. As suggested by the name of the tour, the emphasis is put on their last album “Heritage”, which was a brutal and radical shift in Opeth
music. Mikael, the central soul of the band cut ties with their Death Metal to get back to the 70s progressive music, without encountering the success we hoped for in this new challenge.
The first part of the show is focused on this new musical orientation, with 4 tracks from Heritage. No growls, nor aggressive riffs : Mikael clear voice is only accompanied by soft rhythms in a sweet melancholy. But even if we miss the Blackwater Park to Ghost Reveries era, we just have to close our eyes to feel rocked by this soft poetry.
Mikael then announces “Slither”, tribute to the great Ronnie James Dio
, met for the first time here in Japan, at the Loudpark. Despite regretting having written this song with for a high voice, he has no difficulties singing it on live. He also doesn’t miss one occasion to address the public with his low and deep but gentle voice. He tells us he loves everything in Japan, and always jokes with the public, with his phlegm and dry wit. He then presents us Credence, that he thought would become a great hit … but did not. He introduces Opeth
members, gently jeering at them, such as Martin Mendez, the bassist who allegedly has a supra-ego and required to be mentioned at least 10 times or else he would “kick Mikael’s ass”. Opeth
leader also introduces Joakim Svalberg, the last recruit of the band, but who has already been touring to Japan in the past, with Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
Then, after playing Folklore, which is introduced as representative of Swedish Folk music, the set brutally changes and Mikael explains that they used to play Death Metal before (as if he wanted to emphasize that their Death period is over). It’s then time for the longed-for second part of the show, with the tracks that have made Opeth
famous : The Grand Conjuration, Heir Apparent, The Drapery Falls and Deliverance. With a sense of irony, Mikael asks us if we are ready for hearing some Death Metal. “Anyone afraid ? I would like to see at least one person headbanging”, tells our beloved leader. In response, the whole public instantly boils when the first riffs of Heir Apparent blast out. The lights get richer, flashes crackle, the musicians get wilder and Mikael first growls are at last liberated.
: Mikael and his "floating guitar"
show comes to its end, Mikael proposes to do the “floating guitar” trick : confident, he gives his guitar to the public, and wants it to float over and go around in the public, before going back to him
. The public plays the game, and the guitar gets back to Mikael … but detuned. Taking the time to tune it himself (“we are not professionals !” he says, humbly joking) he takes advantage of this time to talk and exchange with the crowd, and to ask Fredrik Åkesson to entertain us with a guitar solo. Then comes the final “The Drapery Falls” and the bis with “Deliverance”.
Always close to the public and very respectful, all Opeth
members gather one last time for a long bow and thankful “good-bye” to the public, before definitively departing, leaving in all our heads this 2 hours long mix of soft melancholy, poetry and contained brutality
granted us a wonderful show, without a hitch (apart of the “tuning” episode), and that delighted everyone.
Because of a tight schedule (the band leaving at 5 o’clock in the morning) it was not possible to have an interview with them, but let’s hope next time would be ok !
: Mikael and his "floating guitar"
The Devil's Orchard
I Feel the Dark
Face of Melinda
To Rid the Disease
The Grand Conjuration
The Drapery Falls
Note : sorry for the photos that lack action and lights, as we could only shoot the first 3 tracks, while the most interesting were the last ones of the “death” part.